Monday, October 15, 2012

Welcome to Holland

I have shared this document quite a bit because I believe people truly try to understand what it's like to be in our position, but can't. Sometimes it's just something they don't even want to imagine. But this can give you a clear understanding.

Welcome to Holland

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" You say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

4 comments:

  1. I sit here, in my living room, on my laptop, reading this, with tears literally running down my face... I cannot imagine what kind of place Holland is, what it is like, how life is lived there on a daily basis, I may not ever get to visit Holland... but when I see the pictures of Holland, when you tell me and give me insight as to what Holland really is, I can only say that it sure does look like a very beautiful place to me. I love you so so much, I love all of your family, very very much.

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    1. I love you more than you'll ever know <3

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  2. Oh Annabelle. This was beautifully written. I agree with Eve. Holland is beautiful. It is beautiful because people like you and the countless other parents who live there. I know I have said it before, but Darian is so lucky to have you and your amazing family standing beside her. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Cindy. I really appreciate your kind words.

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